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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

a.k.a. Colewort (not to be confused with the herb Avens, also called Colewort)
(Brassica oleracea var Capitata)

CONTRAINDICATED: Not taken when thyroid disease is present due to small amounts of an isothiocyamate.

CONTAINS: High in: calcium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, proteins, riboflavin, thiamine beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, sulfur, glutamine, S-methyl-methionine; also: minerals, vitamins A, B, B2, C, amino acids, fats, rapine (antibiotic/antifungal substance).

A familiar garden plant and vegetable, low-growing with a stout, short, stem bearing a dense terminal head of leaves. Native to the Mediterranean region and the British Isles where it can be found growing wild. Has been cultivated in the West since ca. 400 BC and long used as both a food and a medicine. In Germany sauerkraut has been a staple for many centuries, adding much needed vitamin C to the winter diet

PROPAGATION: By SEED in a cold frame 6 weeks before the last frost. Avoid rich potting soil or seedlings will be leggy. Move out and plant after 6 weeks placing early varieties 14 inches apart, late varieties 24 inches apart. Mulch with well-rotted compost and leaves.
NEEDS:Cool weather and moist soil. Susceptible to cabbage maggot, cabbage worm, and cabbage aphid; companion planting with rosemary, sage, mint, or hyssop can help as a deterent to these insects.
Red Cabbage


Nutritive, sweetish, salty, drying, cool, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antirheumatic, liver decongestant; encourages cell proliferation.
Historically used in Folk Medicine as a digestive remedy and tonic for the joints; was used for fever, to prevent asthma attacks, lung problems, migraines, fluid retention, rheumatism, sciatica, to heal burns, and skin problems, including insect bites. Has also been used to expel intestinal worms.
One method of treating rheumatism, gout, sciatica, and lumbago has been to iron the leaves with a warm iron until flexible, then applying to the affected area.
The juice has been used for gastric or duodenal ulcers (a recipe for cabbage soup for ulcers appears in James A. Duke's The Green Pharmacy); for stomachache 1 tsp of juice was taken before meals; also to calm states of anxiety, agitation, or depression The ancient Greeks added a small amount of honey to the juice to relieve sore or inflamed eyes; for runny eyes in infants, the fresh leaves were bruised to a soft pulp and applied to the closed eyes while baby slept - although the condition appeared to get worse for a few days, it was said to have cleared the condition effectively. Both methods involved washing the eyes with warm water every half hour. The juice has also been used to clear up warts.
The juice of SAUERKRAUT has been used to relieve morning sickness.
The gently beaten leaves, bound to the affected area with a bandage, have been used on wounds, ulcers, varicose ulcers, inflammations, arthritic joints, bruises, abscesses, boils, and skin conditions (including acne); leaves have also been placed in bra cups for mastitis or engorged breasts; some sources report better results have been obtained by using the fresh central rib of the inner leaf closest to the core. Another method has been to dip the leaf in warm water, then apply by tying down with a loose bandage; when the leaf absorbs the heat from the inflammation and feels warm, then it needs to be replaced.
The syrup has been used for moist, chesty coughs, asthma, and bronchitis; RED cabbage has also been made into a syrup for cough, or into a soup for any illness.
A decoction has been used for colitis.
The boron contained in Cabbage helps to raise estrogen levels, thus preserving bone, making it useful in cases of, or preventing osteoporosis.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
DECOCTION = 2 oz leaves in 6 oz water, boiled 1 hour; taken in 1/2 cup doses.
JUICE (for ulcers) = 1 quart daily, but can cause gastric upset, so best combined with celery and carrot juice.
SYRUP = Add sugar to decoction to make syrup; dose is 2 tsp.
LOTION = 8 oz fresh leaves combined with 8 oz distilled witch hazel in a blender; run blender; strain; add 2 drops of lemon oil; used morning and night.

Cabbage stumps were once used to splint animal fractures by removing the pith, then padding the limb with soft material. The stalk was then fixed around it.
Cabbage water was used as a lotion for bruised, swollen, or aching legs.
Leaves were applied to wounds and held in place with a bandage dampened in cold water.

Herbs which compliment cabbage are: basil, caraway, cayenne, cumin, dill, fennel, marjoram, sage and savory.
Also: a good source of putting sauerkraut up safely is: Stocking Up III by Carol Hupping (Rodale Press).
Commmercial sauerkraut has been pasteurized losing most of its nutritional value and making it unsuitable for medicinal application.

Was eaten by the Romans to prevent drunkenness.

(Caulanthus crassicaulis)

A native plant of the southwestern United States which is rarely seen these days. It can be found in dry, sagebrush scrub environment or on pinyon-juniper woodlands at an altitude of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. The scientific name is derived from the Greek kaulos (stem) and anthos (flower) and crassicaulus (thick stem).

Native Americans of Utah, Nevada, and California ate the young plants like cabbage after repeated boilings in water. The seeds were also pounded into flour and made into a mush.

©2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH